Australian Defence and industry group wins US network centric warfare award

An Australian organisation made up of Defence and technology experts has won a top award at the annual Network Centric Warfare Awards in the United States.

The Rapid Prototyping Development and Evaluation (RPDE) Program won the category for the Outstanding Network Centric Program from a Coalition Partner at the high-profile event held by the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement (IDGA).

The Australian RPDE assists the Australian Defence Force to resolve “difficult and challenging bite-sized problems” in relation to using network technology to gain a fighting edge.

In a statement, Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science Greg Combet congratulated the participants on the award.

“This award recognises the unique structure and high successful operation of the RPDE Program and the outstanding commitment and contribution of the industry and academia participants to supporting Defence,” Combet said.

The program draws from a pool of 183 participants, including members IBM, Ericsson and Raytheon.

Last year's coalition award was handed to the Dutch Ministry of Defence for its website.

The RPDE is one part of a broader aim of Defence to develop network centric warfare capabilities outlined in the Whitepaper released last year.

In mid-January, the Federal Government moved to step up another part of its assets working to achieve its capability goals with the opening of the Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC).

The centre, housed inside the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) headquarters in Canberra, will provide critical understanding of the threat from sophisticated cyber attacks, according to the minister for defence, senator John Faulkner.

In November, Computerworld revealed the CSOC had already reached some operational capability but an acute lack of information on the offensive capabilities being developed remains with the government and Defence department refusing to divulge details.

There is also little clarity around its governance or oversight mechanisms, a circumstance that sparked calls from academics and information security analysts for greater public debate and disclosure.

In early November, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) confirmed that Internet-based attacks have been used by hostile intelligence services to gain confidential Australian Government and business information.

The Centre currently has 51 staff drawn from the Defence Signals Directorate but will grow to about 130 over the next five years drawn from agencies such as ASIO, the ADF, the AFP and the Attorney-General's Department.

The full Defence Whitepaper can be read on the department's website.

Check the RPDE website for more detail on its operations.


Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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